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Epithalamium by Pablu Neruda - With Guest Cristina Sanchez

Epithalamium is a song you would sing outside the doors of newlyweds - love poems.

Today I discuss the nature of poetry, romantic relationships, cheating, and the secret life of Pablo Neruda with guest Cristina Sanchez. She introduced me to this poem, and I really enjoyed it. If you haven't read Neruda before, it's worth your time.


By Pablo Neruda

Do you remember when in winter we reached the island? The sea raised toward us a crown of cold. On the walls the climbing vines murmured letting dark leaves fall as we passed. You too were a little leaf that trembled on my chest. Life's wind put you there. At first I did not see you: I did not know that you were walking with me, until your roots pierced my chest, joined the threads of my blood, spoke through my mouth, flourished with me. Thus was your inadvertent presence, invisible leaf or branch, and suddenly my heart was filled with fruits and sounds. You occupied the house that darkly awaited you and then you lit the lamps. Do you remember, my love, our first steps on the island? The gray stones knew us, the rain squalls, the shouts of the wind in the shadow. But the fire was our only friend, next to it we hugged the sweet winter love with four arms. The fire saw our naked kiss grow until it touched hidden stars, and it saw grief be born and die like a broken sword against invincible love. Do you remember, oh sleeper in my shadow, how sleep would grow in you, from your bare breast open with its twin domes toward the sea, toward the wind of the island, and how I in your dream sailed free, in the sea and in the wind yet tied and sunken in the blue volume of your sweetness? Oh sweet, my sweet, spring changed the island's walls. A flower appeared like a drop of orange blood, and then the colors discharged all their pure weight. The sea reconquered its transparency, night in the sky outlined its clusters and now all things murmured our name of love, stone by stone they said our name and our kiss. The island of stone and moss echoed in the secret of its grottoes like the song in your mouth, and the flower that was born between the crevices of the stone with its secret syllable spoke, as it passed, your name of blazing plant and the steep rock, raised like the wall of the world, knew my song, well beloved, and all things spoke of your love, my love, beloved, because earth, time, sea, island, life, tide, the seed that half opens its lips in the earth, the devouring flower, the movement of spring, everything recognizes us. Our love was born outside the walls, in the wind, in the night, in the earth, and that's why the clay and the flower, the mud and the roots know your name, and know that my mouth joined yours because we were sown together in the earth and we alone did not know it and that we grow together and flower together and therefore when we pass, your name is on the petals of the rose that grows on the stone, my name is in the grottoes. They know it all, we have no secrets, we have grown together but we did not know it. The sea knows our love, the stones of the rocky height know that our kisses flowered with infinite purity, as in their crevices a scarlet mouth dawns: just as our love and the kiss that joins your mouth and mine in an eternal flower. My love, sweet spring, flower and sea, surround us. We did not change it for our winter, when the wind began to decipher your name that today at all hours it repeats, when the leaves did not know that you were a leaf, when the roots did not know that you were seeking me in my breast. Love, love, spring offers us the sky, but the dark earth is our name, our love belongs to all time and the earth. Loving each other, my arm beneath your neck of sand, we shall wait as earth and time change on the island, as the leaves fall from the silent climbing vines, as autumn departs through the broken window. But we are going to wait for our friend, our red-eyed friend, the fire, when the wind again shakes the frontiers of the island and does not know the names of everyone, winter will seek us, my love, always it will seek us, because we know it, because we do not fear it, because we have with us fire forever, we have earth with us forever, spring with us forever, and when a leaf falls from the climbing vines, you know, my love, what name is written on that leaf, a name that is yours and mine, our love name, a single being, the arrow that pierced winter, the invincible love, the fire of the days, a leaf that dropped upon my breast, a leaf from the tree of life that made a nest and sang, that put out roots, that gave flowers and fruits. And so you see, my love, how I move around the island, around the world, safe in the midst of spring, crazy with light in the cold, walking tranquil in the fire, lifting your petal weight in my arms as if I had never walked except with you, my heart, as if I could not walk except with you, as if I could not sing except when you sing.